New Faculty Spotlight: Cemantha Morgan Lane Johnson

Cemantha Morgan Lane Johnson

Assistant Professor
Division of Engineering Leadership and Professional Practice

With a passion for teaching and a knack for science, Cemantha Morgan Lane Johnson knew early on that her dream career would encompass both. Inspired by family members who made careers in education, she took the first step and became an undergraduate teaching assistant at The Ohio State University while studying biomedical engineering. 

“I knew I had found my passion,” she said. 

Now, 10 years later, Johnson is an assistant professor in the Division of Engineering Leadership and Professional Practice (DELPP).

“My experience gave me a special heart for connecting with early-career students who are trying to identify their passions and adjust to the university environment,” she shared. “I fell in love with the emphasis on creative problem-solving that is involved in engineering as a discipline, and I wanted to be able to continue equipping students in that critical skill set.”

As a member of the DELPP, Johnson’s research will pivot from her biomedical engineering focused work—investigating molecular mechanisms that cause chronic heart disease and arrhythmia—to research exploring engineering education, teaching assistant development, accessibility and the role of community in undergraduate engineering education.

This semester, she will work with ENGR 145 (Chemistry of Materials) and ENGR 210 (Introduction to Circuits and Instrumentation). In the future she hopes to teach a biomedical engineering course, as well. 

“I put an emphasis on getting to know my students personally, helping them to get to know each other, and figuring out ways to give them practical examples and hands-on experiences with engineering design principles,” she said.

What is your favorite thing about engineering?

I love the fact that engineering at its core is focused on learning how to solve problems. As such, I feel like pursuing an engineering degree (or even engineering design as more of a hobby) is so valuable because no matter what profession you end up in, if you are an excellent problem solver, you are that much more likely to succeed.

What are you most looking forward to at Case Western Reserve University?

I am most looking forward to getting to know the students at Case, helping them identify their goals for their time at the university and beyond, and equipping them with the tools they need to succeed!

If you’re a Cleveland local, what is your favorite thing to do in Cleveland? If you’re new to Cleveland, what are you most looking forward to exploring?

As someone who's new to Cleveland, I am excited to explore all that Cleveland has to offer with my husband and our dog Shiloh. From exploring the outdoors in surrounding areas (e.g. Cuyahoga National Park, fishing on Lake Erie, metro parks) to catching concerts at Severance Hall to exploring the food scene, I am looking forward to getting to know the city and finding our new favorite places.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Several things come to mind, but I will try to list only a few of them...

  • Have faith.
  • Remember that mistakes and failures are not the end-all/be-all, but instead are some of the greatest teachers that we have. Be open to failure and see it as an opportunity to learn and improve.
  • Be gracious with others, and try to listen to understand more than to respond. Learn how to truly dialogue with others who believe differently from you.
  • Your emotions may be real, but they are not always true. Think of them as one additional data point to inform you of the reality of your situation. Listen to them, but don't always trust them, and definitely don't raise them up on a pillar of absolute truth.
  • Despite what society tells you, there is absolute right and absolute wrong. Embrace that and honor that.
  • Be curious. Always seek to learn, explore, and grow. There is so much to learn in this world.
  • Always push yourself, but recognize your limits. Strive to meet your goals and to do hard things, but also be able to recognize the difference between growing pains and overexertion. Act accordingly.
  • And finally, a bit of advice that I learned from a wilderness safety and survival expert, Craig Caudill. When it comes to dealing with stressful situations, especially with unexpected circumstances that arise, remember..."It's just a thing." By pausing, stepping back, and seeing those unexpected stressors as just another thing to work through, you will have a much better mindset to be able to work through stressful situations successfully and healthfully. This is so important for college students, especially, but also for all of us.